The key to getting around gatekeepers to make a sale is to understand their motivations.
Here are six main reasons gatekeepers block access to decision makers:
- The gatekeeper doesn’t want to lose control. For any number of reasons, the gatekeeper fears losing control of the decision-making process, which may lead to diminished power and influence within his or her own company.
- The gatekeeper is “just doing my job.” Some gatekeepers feel their job is to protect the decision-maker’s time by blocking all new salespeople. This thinking builds repeat business for current suppliers but may keep your salespeople out, regardless of the value of your products or services.
- The gatekeeper fears that your salesperson or the products or services being offered will make a bad impression on upper-level management. He or she deals with this by limiting access of new salespeople.
- The gatekeeper prefers the status quo. Staying within an existing comfort zone is the simplest thing to do, especially for a gatekeeper who doesn’t want to rock the boat.
- The gatekeeper doesn’t understand the value your salesperson may bring. He or she may believe the competition has a superior solution or is uneducated about the value your company and solutions could provide.
- The gatekeeper wants your salesperson to lose. It’s possible the gatekeeper has a close relationship with a competitor. It’s also possible the gatekeeper might not like your salesperson or your products or services.
Form an alliance
The best strategy is to turn a gatekeeper into an ally. Encourage your salespeople to find out what the gatekeeper hopes to accomplish and how they can help. Once your salespeople understand why they are not being given access to decision-makers, they should be able to come up with a successful strategy.